The Ruardean Bears -1889 (General)

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, August 08, 2005, 06:07 (4849 days ago)

I can do no better than point you towards an excellent article on this story and the roots of animosity between Ruardean and Cinderford !

http://www.fweb.org.uk/dean/towns/ruardbears.htm

and http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/weirdwest/2004/11/bear.shtml

The bones of the story :-

The two Russian bears came to the Forest in 1889 with four Frenchmen.

It is believed that they had been displayed in Cinderford, and that the animals and their keepers were en route to nearby Ruardean and angry mob gave chase.

Popular myth at the time had it that foreign bear-keepers fed their animals on the flesh of children.

Perhaps inspired by this, a rumour had spread that the animals had killed a child and mauled a woman in the village.

The residents launched a vicious attack, slaughtering the innocent animals and brutally beating two of the Frenchmen.

Individuals from Ruardean witnessed the violence, and came to the rescue. They sheltered and nursed the injured itinerants.

The assailants were later fined heavily for their part in this unfounded attack, but during legal proceedings they were erroneously described as residents of Ruardean.

The mocking refrain, "Who killed the bears?" taunts the people of the village to this day, and visitors are best advised not to mention the sorry episode.

The Ruardean Bears - those punished Part 1

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, August 08, 2005, 06:43 (4849 days ago) @ slowhands

Notes from "The Offences Book" of Drybrook Police Station
3 May 1889

Name Age Details
George WILKES 49 Fined £5 or 1 month imprisonment for assault
Fined £1 plus £20 damages for killing the bears, or 1 month imprisonment
Ernest CINDERRY 29 Fined £5 or 1 month imprisonment for assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 1 month imprisonment
George RAWLINGS 22 Discharged on the charge of assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 14 days imprisonment
Robert WILKS 21 Fined 10/-d or 7 days imprisonment for assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 14 days imprisonment
Henrey BALDWIN 27 Fined 10/-d or 7 days imprisonment for assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 14 days imprisonment
Joseph HOPKINS 19 Discharged on the charge of assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 14 days imprisonment
Isaac BALDWIN 28 Discharged on the charge of assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 14 days imprisonment
Arthur GOLDING 21 Discharged on the charge of assault
Fined £1 plus £5 damages for killing the bears, or 14 days imprisonment
William BALDWIN 15 Discharged on the charge of assault
Discharged on the charge of killing the bears
Thomas MEEK 21 Fined £5 or 1 month imprisonment for assault
Discharged on the charge of killing the bears
Joseph HARDWICK 26 Discharged on the charge of assault
Discharged on the charge of killing the bears
George TIPPINS 22 Fined £5 or 1 month imprisonment for assault
Discharged on the charge of killing the bears
Sidney RAWLINGS 19 Fined 10/-d or 1 month imprisonment for assault
Discharged on the charge of killing the bears
William WILLIAMS 23 Fined 10/-d and costs for assault
Discharged on the charge of killing the bears


Note: William Williams was brought to court on 10th May 1889 before Sir T. Crawley

1881 Census
Best fits to above record - apologises to anyone if I have made a mistake

-> Ernest Cinderey abt 1860 E Dean, Gloucestershire, England Boarder 3 Gt Randolph St, Pancras, London, England

-> George Rollings abt 1867 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Alfred Rollings abt 1845 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Elizabeth Rollings abt 1847 Drybrook, Gloucestershire, England Wife Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Eliza Rollings abt 1866 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Frederick Rollings abt 1872 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Rhoda Rollings abt 1870 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

-> Robert Wilks abt 1869 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
George Wilks abt 1844 Tibberton, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Harriet Wilks abt 1845 Little Birch, Hereford, England Wife Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Alice Wilks abt 1877 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Annie Wilks abt 1872 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Frederick Wilks abt 1873 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
James Wilks abt 1879 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Louisa Wilks abt 1875 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

-> Henery Baldwin abt 1862 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son 8 Nailbridge, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Mary Ann Baldwin abt 1825 Oxenhall, Gloucestershire, England Head 8 Nailbridge, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Eli Baldwin abt 1869 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son 8 Nailbridge, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

The Ruardean Bears - those punished Part 1

by swbouton, Monday, August 22, 2016, 21:38 (816 days ago) @ slowhands

I've been trying to acquire accurate information about my family. I have learned that my great-grandfather, William Williams got off pretty easy by this thread.

That said, I would like to know more. I understand he was a collier at that time. He also lost one eye while mining. It was not too long after this William and my great grandmother, Sarah Louisa Hannah Fox moved to the USA, Stamford Connecticut specifically.

William became caretaker of a small farm in Stamford, CT. It was called "Laddins Rock". It was there their children were born including my paternal grandmother, Doris Frances Williams Bouton.

If someone has come more information I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you.

The Ruardean Bears - those punished Part 1

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Monday, August 22, 2016, 22:43 (816 days ago) @ swbouton

The South Wales Echo, 11th May 1889, reported the separate trial of William WILLIAMS.

http://newspapers.library.wales/view/4411211/4411215/78/William%20Williams%20AND%20bears

There is a rather more detailed report of this trial in the BNA Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 11 May 1889 - which I can provide if you contact me off-forum.

The Ruardean Bears - those punished Part 1

by swbouton, Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 20:34 (815 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

Thank you very much for the newspaper lead. What a terrific resource. I wish I could print it for my Dad to see.

Your help is very much appreciated. Thank you,

Steve Bouton

The Ruardean Bears - those punished Part 1

by MPGriffiths @, Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 21:20 (815 days ago) @ swbouton

You can use your phone/camera and take a picture of the article from the computer screen. The transcription on the right hand side came up good on my phone.

The Ruardean Bears punished part 2

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, August 08, 2005, 06:44 (4849 days ago) @ slowhands

-> Joseph Hopkins abt 1871 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Joseph Hopkins abt 1831 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Elizabeth Hopkins abt 1836 White...ye, Monmouth, Wales Wife Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Alfred Hopkins abt 1879 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Eliza Ann Hopkins abt 1874 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Jane Hopkins abt 1881 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Mary Ann Hopkins abt 1869 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Samuel Hopkins abt 1876 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
William Hopkins abt 1873 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

-> Isaac Baldwin abt 1861 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Louisa Baldwin abt 1831 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Wife Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Benjamin Baldwin abt 1828 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Louisa Baldwin abt 1875 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

-> William Baldwin abt 1874 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Joseph Baldwin abt 1840 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Head Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Harriett Baldwin abt 1846 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Wife Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Ada Mary Baldwin abt 1880 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Cornelius Baldwin abt 1876 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Forest Frederick Baldwin abt 1878 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Moses Baldwin abt 1873 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Winnie Baldwin abt 1881 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Drybrook Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

The Ruardean Bears punished part 2

by harryh, Friday, November 13, 2015, 16:16 (1099 days ago) @ slowhands

joseph Hopkins is my ancestor I have been looking for information on the case as it interests me and want to know more abut him have to dig a but deeper.

The Ruardean Bears punished part 2

by Mike Pinchin @, Bedford, England, Friday, November 13, 2015, 20:57 (1099 days ago) @ harryh

This is one of the original reports of the incident,

BNA Gloucester Citizen - Tuesday 30 April 1889

FIGHT WITH BEARS IN THE FOREST OF DEAN.
TWO FRENCHMEN BEATEN.

A Forest of Dean correspondent sends the following extraordinary story. A very remarkable affair has occurred in Dean Forest, in which four Frenchmen were subjected to rough treatment at the hands of the colliers and others living in the neighbourhood of Ruardean Hill, near Cinderford. Two Russian bears which the foreigners had with them were killed. It appears that the Frenchmen arrived on Friday morning at Cinderford. They were accompanied by two Russian bears of ordinary size. The animals were muzzled, and each was in charge of two keepers. They exhibited about the town till about three o'clock the afternoon, and then took the road for Nailbridge en route for Drybrook, Ruardean, and Lydbrook. The party was followed out of the town by many small children. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of Nailbridge the report was started that a child had been killed at Cinderford, and a woman very much hurt, at the same time and place, by the bears. The report, it seems, was a pure fabrication, but the poor Frenchmen and their quadrupeds who had been the objects of interest at once received the attention of a hostile mob. Without inquiring as to the truth of the story, scores of young fellows and boys who had collected intimated their intention to despatch the brutes. To this end stakes were torn up, garden clothes props, stones, brick bats, and other weapons, were used to attack the bears. Their keepers, unable to speak a word of English, went down on their knees and in great distress implored, by gestures, to be left alone. Their entreaties were in vain, and several times the men were struck either with sticks or stones, and one received a serious blow in the neck with a half brick. In this way a couple of miles were traversed, and at six o'clock it was estimated that a mob of 200 persons had collected. The bears became excited, and in the middle of the road within sight of Ruardean the smaller of the two beasts was killed outright by a heavy pole which someone level led at its head. Two of the Frenchmen escaped into a wood, and they have not been seen nor heard of since. The other two, worn out with fatigue and fright, sank to the ground, thus letting the second animal go free. The beast jogged on as fast as it could, but was again captured and was shot dead. Some persons who took pity on the strangers invited them into their houses and gave them shelter. The neighbourhood continued in a most excited state for some time. Much sympathy is expressed for j the strangers, who have lost their means of livelihood.

We are informed that the French Vice- Consul in Gloucester (Mr. J. B. Karn) has received a communication from Mr. M. F. Carter, of Newnham, stating that proceedings will be taken against some of the men alleged to have been concerned in the affray ; that the magistrates have power to make a grant of £10 compensation for the loss of the bears, and suggesting that as the Frenchmen not speak English Mr. Karn had better attend at Littledean Police-court when the cases came on, as interpreter, or make proper arrangements. The French Consul at Cardiff communicated with Mr. Karn this morning by telegram requesting that he would take what steps might be deemed advisable for asserting the rights of the Frenchmen concerned. The two men who escaped into the woods have arrived at Cardiff. The matter is considered of such importance that Mr. Karn this afternoon proceeded to the Forest to make inquiries on the spot, preparatory to taking what action may be considered necessary.

-----------------

The report of the subsequent police court proceedings is in the BNA Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 04 May 1889. This contains the names of the Frenchmen and the fate of those charged. I think Joseph Hopkins was discharged. The transcript runs to two and a half pages of A4 and I haven't the time to correct the BNA's OCR software at the moment. However, if anyone is interested in a download just email me via the blue envelope.

The Ruardean Bears punished part 2, Welsh newspapers

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Sunday, November 15, 2015, 00:09 (1098 days ago) @ Mike Pinchin

Hi Mike & co, what I suspect is a slightly abridged version of the Citizen report appeared in various Welsh newspapers, so c/o the excellent Welsh Newspapers website the originals may all be easily read online and free-of-charge too. In this particular instance as reported by the South Wales Daily News of 4th May 1889, the OCR transcription is very good too, so it can be copied & pasted with relative ease. As you said Mike, despite some ambiguity (typo error?), it appears Joseph Hopkins was discharged wrt the charge of assaulting the Frenchmen, but was fined wrt cruelty to the bears. This appears to all be as detailed within Slowhands' opening posts at the start of this thread.

I hope this helps, and that this link works.

http://newspapers.library.wales/view/3670694/3670697/56/ruardean%20bears

The Ruardean Bears punished part 3

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, August 08, 2005, 06:45 (4849 days ago) @ slowhands

-> Thomas Meek abt 1868 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Thomas Meek abt 1841 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Eliza Meek abt 1844 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Wife Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Charles Meek abt 1872 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Eliza Meek abt 1879 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Ferdinand Meek abt 1877 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
George Meek abt 1867 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
James Meek abt 1826 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Lodger Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Jane Anna Meek abt 1880 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Lucy Meek abt 1869 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Mary Jane Meek abt 1871 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Sarah Meek abt 1874 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Rd, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

-> George Tippings abt 1864 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Francis Tippings abt 1836 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Louisa Tippings abt 1838 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Wife Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Albert Tippings abt 1875 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Charlotte Tippings abt 1870 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Eliza Tippings abt 1872 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Fredrick Tippings abt 1879 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
James Tippings abt 1867 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
John Tippings abt 1860 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
William Tippings abt 1858 Ruardean Hill, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

-> Sidney Rollings abt 1871 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
John Rollings abt 1841 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Head 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Elizabth Rollings abt 1844 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Wife 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Alice Rollings abt 1869 Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Herbert Rollings abt 1874 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Hubert Rollings abt 1877 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Leonard James Rollings abt 1879 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son 15 Drybrook Roade, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

The Ruardean Bears punished part 4

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, August 08, 2005, 06:45 (4849 days ago) @ slowhands

-> William Williams abt 1865 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
William Williams abt 1835 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Head Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Margaret Williams abt 1838 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Wife Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Amelia Williams abt 1872 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Daughter Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
James Williams abt 1867 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Thos. Miles Williams abt 1877 East Dean, Gloucestershire, England Son Ruardean Hill, Westbury On Severn - East Dean, Gloucestershire, England

The Ruardean Bears punished part 4

by obscurasky @, Monday, May 30, 2011, 14:49 (2727 days ago) @ slowhands

These census results are very interesting. One often reads that it was a miss-reporting of the event that led to the blame being placed on the people of Ruardean instead of Cinderford, and it is this which is the basis of the long-running feud between the residents of those two towns. For example; in his book, Who Killed The Bears?, Leonard Clark writes that "it was the township of Cinderford which produced the men responsible for killing the bears". Your research, however, shows that nearly all did come from Ruardean Hill after all.

The Ruardean Bears -1889

by Dennis Meek @, Saturday, August 13, 2005, 13:01 (4843 days ago) @ slowhands

I found this article on The Ruardean Bears very interesting as one of the assailants was a Thomas Meek, whose age was similar to that of an ancestor of mine who lived in the East Dean area at that time. Can you tell me if The Offences Book at Drybrook Police Station contains the address of this miscreant as this would help me decide whether or not Thomas Meek was a family member?

The Ruardean Bears -1889

by changeringer @, Tuesday, October 13, 2009, 13:57 (3321 days ago) @ slowhands

To Slowhands,

Many thanks for such a comprehensive response - you have povided a great base from which to conduct further research. Perhaps I shall find that some of my ancestors were part of the mob!

Tony Williams

The Ruardean Bears -1889

by rookancestrybest @, Tuesday, October 13, 2009, 23:09 (3321 days ago) @ changeringer

Someone I know (not related to me nor my family history) by coincidence comes from the Forest of Dean. She told me about the Bears four or five years ago but I thought she was referring to an event which happened longer ago than the end of the 1800s. When I next see her I will ask her what she knows.

The Ruardean Bears -1889

by andrewbaldwin @, Gloucester, Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 11:08 (3321 days ago) @ rookancestrybest

My father told me the story of the bears when I was young. This was because one of the men involved was my Great Grandfather Henry Baldwin from Nailbridge. This is why i started to research my family history.

Andy Baldwin

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